Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lift Off Continued...

Yesterday, I left you just before the rocket was to be launched. And no, I won't leave you in suspense like that very often...I just had too many pictures for one post!

The wires were about to be touched to the battery pack to send the charge to the rocket. The countdown begins...

....five, four, three, two, one...and we have......

...lift off! The rocket accelerated off of the launch rod with a whoooooosh!

It soared high, high into the sky. See that little speck in the middle of all this blue....that is the rocket as it is falling back to the ground....it took me a bit to find it, and this was with my 300 mm lens....it's hard to describe how high it went!

As soon as the boys spotted it, they took off running.

When the parachute works, it falls gently to the ground, but the challenge is still there to catch it before it lands so the rocket doesn't get damaged.

They ran clear across the field and into the parking lot. Again, this is with the 300 mm lens.

See those specks in the middle of this picture, that is the boys without the zoom lens. They ran far!

Who caught it? Oh, it looks like it was Billy. Drats says Brian...the punk got to it before me.

But that's OK, it was fun running clear across the field. I thought it was fun staying put and taking pictures.

This bird was happy to have flown clear of the registered flight path. It was registered wasn't it? Oops, I think we forgot that part. Just kidding, it doesn't need to be registered. I just like messin' with ya.

Now it's time for Brian to launch his fancy store bought rocket. When you are long and lean you can assemble rockets with your arms and legs all twisted together. Some of us just wish we could tie our shoes and breathe at the same time.

Billy had launched the rocket he had made in school. Brian's school rocket needed some repairs, so he decided to give this fancy new one a try.

It looks pretty official, and sort of pointy and a little scary to me.

Oh, but the aerodynamics will be great Mom! Umm...ok...if you say so.

There were some discussions about the right angle to launch it. Looks like an important meeting of the minds. I love this picture...look how tall my little boys are. :-)

Can't you just see the excitement on Brian's face? Brian, what type of engine did you put into your rocket?

Oh...just C4.....

....what? Wait...isn't that an explosive? OH NO!

Heh, heh...don't worry, he's just messin' with ya. Wonder where he got that from? And now for the count down. Cinco (yes, he counted down in Spanish), cuatro, tres, dos, uno......and lift off....

....ummm....or not. The rocket got hung up on the launch rod, tipped over, and puffed, and hissed and smoked and launched it's parachute and this is how it ended up. No fatalities, except maybe a worm. But it sure was exciting!

I don't think that the rocket with the big USA on the side could understand Spanish.

Hey Billy, what's this rocket engine stuff that you guys are talking about?

Well Mom, the C stands for the size of the engine, the 6 stands for the amount of propellant and the -5 is the number of seconds before the parachute is deployed. Cool! Um Billy, I think you need some lotion on your poor dry hands. Where is your mother?

Oh, there she is, checking for damages on the launch rod. Setting it at just the right angle for the next launch....

...and seeing what Billy does to get the rocket ready for the next launch.

The wires are attached....look at those guys having as much fun with this launch as with the first one. They even liked the gun powder smell from the launched rockets.

Eric and Billy touch the wires to the battery together....

And it's funf (yep, German this time), vier, drei, zwei, eins, null....lift off!

A perfect launch into the clear blue Minnesota skies.

I kinda like being the Mom of Rocket Boys...as long as they let me play too!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lift Off...almost.

The boys are on Spring break from school this week. We've decided to stick around home this year instead of taking a trip somewhere. Looking at the weather forecast for the week, it looks like that may have been a bad idea! But the boys wanted to stay here and just hang out with friends....so we are....with the idea that we'd do some fun things around town. Yesterday, one of the fun things that we did was rocket launching!

We hiked over to a nearby school where they have a nice open field. As with pretty much every fun thing we do, there was some assembly required. Billy and Bob were trying to get the launching post thing together. I don't know if it's called a launching post, but it works for me....oh wait...I was just told that it's a launch rod...see what I know....not much.

What's this paper thing? Um, guys, those are called instructions. Being guys, they had never heard about instructions before.

Come on, we can just launch this thing...no problem. Well, maybe there is a problem...where does that part go? What about that one?

Bob says...look at this, these here instructions tell us just what to do...cool.

POR VOTRE SECUITE - Veuillez tenir compte que le....geez, these instructions look Greek to me...um Bob, that's French, the English instructions are over on the left side.

Billy thinks that grown-ups are SO weird.

See this guy...he is our safety inspector. He knows all about this rocket launching business, so he's keeping an eye on things.

Let's see, the wind is blowing this way, so we need to aim this launching rod thing at just the right angle this other way... it takes calculating....it's complicated...I think I'll just stick to taking pictures.

Oh dear, it looks like there are some serious faces here. I wonder if something is wrong?

Sure enough...a serious hitch in the plans. The controller appears to need batteries....and guess what....we didn't bring any batteries with us when we walked over. Bummer.

But wait, those two are laughing. Something must be up. Sure enough, Bob happened to have some sort of battery thing with him that would give the rocket pack enough of a charge to ignite. I think he's laughing at us.

Getting those wires attached to the rocket is sort of tricky. It takes a lot of concentration and someone to keep the dog from getting tangled up in the wire...oops, that's my job...hey dog...get over here.

The parachute has been packed. The tissue paper stuff that protects the parachute has been packed. The rocket has been assembled. The wires attached...

The rocket slides down onto the launching rod. It looks like Billy could use some longer pants...or some taller socks....where is that boys mother?

A final adjustment of the launching rod....

Both wires touching the battery pack to send a charge through the wire....

....the charge goes through the wire to ignite the rocket.....

....and we have....we have....we have to wait until tomorrow to see if the launch was successful or not. I love a good suspense story....don't you??

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy Dog

Eric and I were out on a walk with Penny today when we spotted a couple of strangers in our neighborhood. Oh wait, that's Bob and Billy. Where are they headed to?

They look like they are up to something. We had better follow them. It didn't take very long for Penny to recognize that those were some of her people walking in front of us.

Bob and Billy went to the field at a nearby school. We let Penny off of her leash to see what she'd do. "I'm free! I'm free! Now what do I do??"

" Oh looky there, my people are just ahead. I think I'll go and say hi...maybe they will pet me!"

Bob looks afraid...oh no, a wild and crazy dog is chasing us!!

Oh Bob, don't be silly, it's just Penny. Penny says "look, I found some of my people!" "I'm here....pet me!"

"Oh Boy, oh boy, look who's coming...gotta run as fast as I can to greet him....I think I know him...I think it's another one of my people...."

Sure enough, it's Brian jogging over to join the fun....

Penny says "hurray....all my people are here....all my people love me....that must be why everyone has gathered here. Pet me, pet me will ya?"

Ummmm....sorry Penny....it's not all about you. We came to the field for an entirely different reason......

Life is tough for a dog...but Penny says, "that's OK, I don't care as long as you pet me in between all that weird stuff you are doing. Because, deep down, I know you are out here just to play with me."

Dogs are eternally optimistic. But then again, what could be better than having a nice open field, some sunshine, and being surrounded by your people.
Rocket launch photos tomorrow!